Why Grace Isn’t Fair – Matthew 20:1-16

Reflection from my reading in Matthew 20:1-16 in the One Year Bible New Testament.

Grace Isn’t Fair

Jesus told us a powerful story about God’s grace.

There was a master who needed to hire workers in his vineyard. Early in the morning he went out and hired some workers for a day’s wages. At 9am, he found more people and hired them. At noon, 3pm and 5pm he hired people and told them he would pay them what was fair.

At the end of the day it was time to pay the workers. The men who were hired at 5pm were paid a full day’s wage. When the men who had been working tirelessly all day since morning went to get their pay it was the same as the men who had been working ONLY an hour! No matter how much each one worked, they all got the same day’s wage.

These men complained because it was not fair. Then the master responded,

” Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you.  Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.” Matthew 20:14–16

There are a few lessons to be learned from this powerful story.

1.  None Of Us Deserve Grace

The fact that the master generously hired any of those men was his choice. Those of us who have been Christians a long time have a tendency to think that we have some how earned God’s grace by faithfully attending church, but nothing is farther from the truth.

2. We Should Not Compare 

If the men minded their own business and appreciated the money they received, they would have been thankful. When we focus too much on how God is blessing others we sometimes forget his grace toward us. Comparing either leads to pride or depression. Like the men in the story, often when you start comparing you start complaining. 

3. Grace By Definition is Unfair

Grace means unmerited favor. People who come to Christ after a life of crime and sin don’t deserve grace and people who grew up in Church and checked all the religious boxes don’t deserve grace! None of us do. That is what is so radical about it. The murderer and human trafficker has access to the same grace as kid who grew up in Sunday school. All we have to do is receive it.

Will you receive God’s unfair Grace? 

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About David Worcester

I am the founder and director of a campus ministry at San Diego State called Challenge. I am also serving as an ordained elder at Mission Trails Church. I love speaking and writing about college ministry, gospel appointments, and practical ways to live out God’s Word! I am also passionate about: leadership training, learning, missions, church planting, surfing, hiking, sports, photography and traveling (So far I’ve visited 23 countries & all 50 states). I’m married to Jessica Worcester who I fell in love with while doing college ministry together and we have a two year old son named Samuel. I graduated from from the University of Oklahoma (OU) with a degree in Film & Video Studies. And I received my Masters in Theological Studies from Gateway Seminary. I am an ordained minister who loves speaking and writing about practical ways to live out God’s Word in life and ministry.

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